Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Paraguay?
Paraguay is a beautiful country that will need a hire car for the best exploration of its treasures. It's relatively crime free compared to many South American countries and the people are warm and welcoming.
Road conditions are generally poor with less that 15% of roads considered suitable for non 4 x 4 cars.
Seat Belt Laws
In Paraguay everyone must wear a seat belt in a moving vehicle.
Drinking and Driving
The blood alcohol limit in Paraguay is 80mg per 100 ml of blood; the same as it is in the UK. This means that any more than one drink can take you over the limit.
Must Have Documents
You should carry both parts of your driving licence and also an international driving licence if you are from outside South America. Whilst not compulsory, it is recommended that you also have your registration papers and a certificate proving you have the minimum level of insurance.
The speed limits for Paraguay are as follows:
Open roads: 80 km/h
In Town: 50 km/h
Highways 110 km/h
Minimum Driving Age
You have to be at least 18 to be able to drive in Paraguay. If you're renting a car the minimum age is 21. If you are under 25 you’re likely to have to pay a premium for your lack of experience and age.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
Safety camera warning devices are legal in Paraguay but so many of the roads are in poor condition and the driving standards are so bad that you’d be better off sticking within the limits.
On the Spot Fines
Being stopped for a motoring offence usually results in a ticket with details of the offence and the fine payable. You may find in remote areas, you’ll be asked to pay on the spot but this is illegal in Paraguay and should not be encouraged. Payment is usually at a police station or bank within 14 days of issue.
Child Safety Rules
In Paraguay, there are no laws regarding the safety of children in motor vehicles. The onus therefore is on the adults in the vehicle to ensure they are safely secured in their seats. If hiring a car you should inform us of your requirements when you book and we’ll ensure that the correct system is fitted ready for when you collect the car.
A minimum of third party insurance is compulsory in Paraguay and, whilst it’s not a legal requirement to have it in the vehicle, it’s a useful idea to do so.
Rules of the Road
Standard international driving laws apply with one or two exceptions.
• Many street signs are missing including warning signs so proceed with caution at all times.
• Paraguay drives on the right
• Speed limits vary depending on the terrain and population density. Many speed limit signs are also missing so in many places you’ll have to guess or make sure your speed limit is just below that of drivers around you.
Paraguay has no specific regulations for towing a vehicle or trailer. It’s up to you to make sure all precautions have been taken and that you have good visibility.
Fixed speed cameras are rare in Paraguay and if you happen across one, the chances are that is doesn’t work. Instead, the police rely on hand held devices and use them in areas where the speed limit is unclear or whey the limit changes. For this reason it’s best to proceed at all times with caution and at a speed that is not in excess of those around you.
Using Mobile Phones when driving
It’s illegal to talk or text on a mobile phone whilst driving in Paraguay unless you have a hands free kit.
Most parking in Paraguay is wherever a convenient space is found except in Asuncion where it is more closely regulated on account of the amount of traffic.
Paid parking is often unnecessary but in the cities you’ll find bays on the side of the roads in the centre which are controlled by meters or ticket machines.
Enforcement of parking is done by the police but infrequently. You will usually only be targeted if you obstruct a road or driveway.
Paraguay has no concessions for disabled drivers, mainly because convenient parking is found just about everywhere. In the cities it’s best to use attended parking or parking garages near your destination as they will be able to give better assistance.
Motor Way Signs
The only road of motorway standard is the H7 which passes across the country east from Asuncion. It’s a toll road and has green signs with white writing. Many other roads are considered as motorways by the government but are in such a poor state of repair they should not be relied upon or travelled on at motorway speeds.
- Give way - Ceda el paso
- Traffic lights - Semaforas
- Right of way – Prioridad
- Exit – Salida
- Danger – Peligro
- No parking - Prohibido aparcar
- Slow – Despacio
- Lane – Un carril
- City centre – Centro ciudad
- Carretera – Local Highway
- Roadworks – Obras
- Where is the nearest petrol station? – ¿Donde es la gasolinera la más cercana?
- Excuse me, I’m lost – Por favor, estoy perdido…
- Go straight on – ‘Siga todo recto’
- Turn right – ‘Toma el giro a la derecha’
- Turn left – ‘Toma el giro a la izquierda’
- Detour - Desviacion
- Toll Road – Carretera de Peaje
- Road Closed – Cerrado.
- Road Open – Abierto
- Motorway – Una autopista
- One way street – Direccíon unica
- Dual Carriageway - Autovia
It’s only in Asuncion and other large towns and cities that you’ll find traffic lights. Generally traffic is so light they are not necessary. The sequencing of them is that defined by the Vienna Convention so shouldn’t be difficult to understand.
Highway 7 is a toll road and only Paraguayan currency is accepted so be warned if you are using the road on a South American road trip.
The emergency number in Paraguay is 130 for the police and 141 for other emergency services.
What to do in an emergency
Your rental car will have an emergency contact number located on or near the windscreen. If you have a mechanical problem or accident use it to inform the company.
In the event of an accident you may settle minor knocks with the other party but if there is serious damage or injuries the police and the emergency services must be called if appropriate. The police will issue a report based on witness statements and the position and state of the vehicles. For this reason do not move the vehicles unless they are causing an obstruction or danger to others.
As of November 2014, the average price of 95 octane unleaded petrol in Paraguay is 97p whilst diesel is 88p. Prices can vary between the towns and the smaller villages.